New Delhi: India on Monday decided to allow minority refugees from Bangladesh and Pakistan to stay in this country even after expiry of their visas on humanitarian grounds. To exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities who have entered India on or before December 31, 2014, in respect of their entry and stay in India without proper documents or after the expiry of relevant documents, a statement issued by the Home Ministry said.
The government also issued two notifications in the Official Gazette on Monday under Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and Foreigners Act, 1946.
The reports says that a number of Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities in those countries, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, took shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution.
They have entered India without any valid document, including passport and other travel document. The officials figure around two lakh Hindu and Sikh refugees from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan living in India.
The Modi government has taken several steps including issuance of Long Term Visa (LTV) for these refugees have been initiated.previous year Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh has initiated few steps to ease grant of citizenship to such refugees which included manual acceptance of applications for citizenship, consideration of an affidavit filed before the authority in return for citizenship renunciation certificate and permission to the children of such refugees, who entered India, on the basis of their parents’ passport, to apply for Indian citizenship without a passport.
In April this year, the Union Home Ministry rolled out an online system for LTV applications and for their processing by various security agencies.
The decision was taken to address the difficulty being faced by Hindus and Sikhs of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan who had come with the intention of settling permanently in India.
There are 400 Pakistani Hindu refugee settlements in cities like Jodhpur, Jaisalmer, Bikaner and Jaipur. Hindu refugees from Bangladesh mostly live in West Bengal and north eastern States.